Cause for Concern for US in Back to Back Qualifiers Against Jamaica

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I’ve said before that qualifying out of our CONCACAF region is full of tense moments.  This upcoming set of games, back to back vs. Jamaica (at their place on 9/7, and at home in Columbus on 9/11), is an early example of how a few breaks can lead to sticky situations in what should have been a straightforward path out of our semifinal group.

Klinsmann has had to test his depth with this roster, and there are a few things worth pondering as the team prepares for the most crucial two games of his tenure.

Muscle Strains Depth

Two of our best three players are missing due to leg strains.  Landon Donovan tweaked his hammy in the win down in Mexico and hasn’t played since in MLS, while Bradley’s been sidelined with a bum thigh for AS Roma since a so-so first start in their season opener.  Donovan’s leadership, decision-making, workrate and ability to make that one perfect play that wins the game will obviously be missed.  But Bradley’s absence is arguably more painful.  The team counts on his two-way ability and he provides punch on both sides of the ball as well as a knack for coming up with big goals.  With his backup options, you either lose passing and possession, or defensive bite.  It is difficult to overstate the void left by the absence of these two and the experience they would have brought.

In addition, Josh Gatt, the Norway-based speed merchant looking for his first cap, had to turn down Klinsmann’s call due to….a strained hamstring.

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Pia Sundhage Stepping Down to Return to Sweden

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2 Olympic gold medals

World Cup Final

3 Algarve Cups

88-6-10 record

5 great years.

THANK YOU COACH PIA SUNDHAGE!

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The Facts on Frings

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This post appears in its entirety at The MLS Reserves.

Torsten Frings is undoubtedly one of most recognizable figures in Major League Soccer. He’s a well-decorated player whose reputation precedes him, having won domestic league and cup titles in Germany, and winning a bronze medal at the 2006 World Cup. Once a world-class midfielder revered the world over, the Toronto FC fans quickly became enamored with their new potential superstar. They surely believed he’d be able to help lead the club to greatness with his combination of leadership, skill, and experience. Is the fans’ faith in Frings misplaced?

Since his arrival, Frings has just simply failed to deliver. In his “rookie” season in MLS, Frings managed just 1 assist in 13 games. Things haven’t gotten much better for Frings, nor for Toronto FC in 2012. Although scoring twice this season, his two assists as a central midfielder and ultimately the focal point of the entire squad is absolutely abysmal. One might argue that Frings simply isn’t an attacking minded player. While his role is mainly as a defensive midfielder he posted better offensive statistics for every other club he had ever played for, in a league far superior to MLS. Surely he should be succeeding at Toronto, with full backing of the fans, the FO and rarely playing less than 90 minutes a match. Yet there’s one major factor that is overlooked.

Check out the rest of Stephen’s post over at The MLS Reserves.

Major League Soccer to be Part of NBC Sports Live Extra App

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Major League Soccer will be one of many sports properties whose events will appear live on the new NBC Sports Live Extra App.

If you already have the NBC Olympics Live Extra App, updates will switch it automatically switch to the overall NBC Sports App starting today.

The info released so far did not say if the app would cover national team games that air on NBC or NBC Sports Network.

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Galaxy Celebrate Tommy Meyer's Goal

gay4CCL: Los Angeles blanks Puerto Rico, 4-0

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The kids… they are definitely alright.

Los Angeles Galaxy followed up last week’s CONCACAF Champion’s League 5-2 win over Isidro Matapan with another dominating performance on Wednesday night – this time, over the visiting Puerto Rico Islanders.  The reigning MLS Champion’s 4-0 victory on Wednesday night is all the more impressive considering it was accomplished with the team’s reserves.

On a night that saw Robbie Keane serving a red card suspension, David Beckham recovering from illness and Landon Donovan from injury,and with the team schedule to play an important match this weekend versus Vancouver, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena opted to start his B squad.

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Sarah Walsh to Retire After US Tour

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Sarah Walsh, Australian striker who is dating US star Megan Rapinoe, will soon be retired from international soccer.

She cites still experiencing pain in her knees following surgery in 2010 as the primary reason for her retirement.

Walsh retires as the third highest scorer in Australian history, having played in three Asian Cups, a World Cup, and the 2004 Olympics.

She will end her career after the upcoming series of friendlies in the United States, playing Rapinoe in the USA Women’s post-London victory tour.

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Noted Gay Author Dan Woog Praises Major League Soccer

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Dan Woog is an educator, writer, and soccer coach based in Connecticut. In his column for last weekend’s edition of the publication Letters from Camp Rehoboth, he has some high praise for Major League Soccer, calling soccer “a sports world leader in many LGBT-related ways.”

He cites the recent move to break away from the Boy Scouts, the actions following Colin Clark’s use of a gay slur, and club Pride Nights as examples of Major League Soccer’s leadership. He dedicates a whole paragraph to the recent actions of the Chicago Fire partnering with Equality Illinois like staff marching in the Chicago Pride Parade and Jay Nolly and Dan Gargan attending a cocktail party for the group.

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DC United Becomes First MLS Team to Release You Can Play Video

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Thank you to head coach Ben Olsen, midfielder Chris Pontius, defender Mike Chabala and everyone at DC United.

We are united. We are united in pursuit of championships. We are united in our service to the community. We are united in support of all our teammates, coaches, and fans – gay or straight. All that matters to us is your talent, work ethic, and passion. If you can play, you can play.

The team’s announcement of the video is here.

Portland Timbers defeat Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1

A Bright Spot in the Timbers Organization or Just a Fluke?

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These past couple of days the Portland Timbers got something that they have been waiting for a while: some results. On Saturday, the Timbers won against their rivals the Vancouver Whitecaps. This is a remarkable result because so far in the Cascadia Cup standings we have 7pts, Seattle has 4 pts, and vancouver has 2 pts. That means only one thing — if we beat Seattle coming up then we clinch the Cascadia Cup our first piece of silverware since we moved to Major League Soccer.

Now onto the match itself. It looked like the Timbers were playing fairly decent in the beginning of the first half but things turned around once Darlington Nagbe scored another goal. I will say he is on a hot streak as of lately which is silencing his critics who have been criticizing him all season long. Then we marched forth and attacked the Vancouver Defense. The sad thing was that Vancouver came right back in extra time to tie it up. Once the second half came about the good thing was the remarkable defense the one guy who also was criticized a lot was Steven Smith. He helped saved the Timbers from dropping 2 points! Another person that definitely helped the team a lot was Frank Songo’o. He scored the game winning goal in the second half which sealed Vancouver’s fate. I have to say they improved from what their performances were in the past. They moved up to 3rd to last in terms of league ranking and this is the first win of Gavin Wilkinson’s coaching career in MLS.

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John Kerr, Duke Head Coach and MLS Original, Says “You Can Play”

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Duke Athletics has released the second You Can Play Project video of the 2012-13 school year, and their head soccer coach and MLS original John Kerr, Jr., is among the athletes and staff featured.

Prior to Kerr’s coaching career at Harvard and Duke, he played professionally both in the US and England, including being selected by the Dallas Burn in the Inaugural Major League Soccer draft. He was also part of the first in-season MLS trade in 1996 heading to the New England Revolution.

Go Blue Devils!

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